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January 15, 2013

Where's the Coverage? Israel Leads the Fight against Desertification


You may have read some of the thousands of articles about the conflict in Mali. The United States may even get involved in the French operation there. The Council on Foreign Relations links the conflict to “food insecurity related to desertification.? The Guardian’s Comment is Free asserts in a headline “Mali crisis caused by development failures? and cites specifically “corruption, desertification, impoverishment, and the inability to lure investment.? So, one would think the media would report on advances in combating desertification and the country that leads the world in doing so – unless, of course, that country were Israel, which it is.

In November, Israel hosted the fourth biannual International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification at the Sde Boker campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Israel also hosted the 2008 and 2010 conferences. This is not surprising since, according to Sharon Megdal, director of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona, “Israel is leading the way in water resources and management.?

Yet, CAMERA could find no mention of the conference in the popular press though, since the conference, desertification has been covered in Forbes, The New York Daily News, again The Guardian, Agence France-Presse, BBC News, and many other news outlets. The Los Angeles Times ran a glowing 1,250-word profile of an Iranian environmentalist but of the world leader... not a word.

In the conference’s opening plenum, Professor Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University declared that Israel, “as one of the most scientifically advanced countries, can play a major role in bringing all of these problems to global attention.? Perhaps Professor Ehrlich hasn’t noticed, but if there’s a story that shows Israel in a positive light, one must almost unfailingly ask... Where’s the coverage?


Conference delegates walk through the desert landscape of the Negev.

(Photo by Wolfgang Motzafi-Haller/BGU)

Posted by SC at January 15, 2013 01:13 PM


Where's the Coverage? Israel needs to work
with newspapers and/or publications to get that
coverage out. The world will benefit.

Posted by: Selma Soss at January 20, 2013 12:35 AM

I'm in the middle of a discussion with someone about this and I'm trying to be unbiased and scientific about your claims and how you arrived at them.

Try Google search three times, with the following three search terms, exactly as typed, INCLUDING quotation marks as shown. The first one should look familiar. :)

I got one result, the conference site link itself.

5 results

desertification israel
About 929,000 results

Further, does searching on "mali" necessarily equate with "thousands" of "articles" specifically about the conflict there? How did you account for duplicate links to a single popular article mirrored on a number of news agencies' & blogs sites, or the thousands of results that were irrelevant to varying degrees?

How many pages of the returns did you at least scan thru briefly, to see where the results began to go significantly "stale"?

Frankly, I think there _is_ some degree of bias against Israel in the mass news media. How strong and how widespread is anyone's guess, though.

I also think you need to spend some time learning how to more effectively search stuff on the web. :)

Posted by: Roman at March 6, 2013 08:58 AM

Still wondering if my previous comment is ever going to be posted…

Here's a positive article from the _Guardian_ about Israel and desertification, though that issue is not the primary one.

Again, I'm _not_ denying the possibility of media bias against Israel altogether, but I'm not accepting it unconditionally without reliable evidence either.

Maybe the reason it's this hard to find articles about this is that Israel, for all their negative exposure, is a small country that doesn't have that big a problem with desertification. There could be a number of reasons why, besides media bias.

Posted by: Roman at March 7, 2013 09:56 AM

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